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AL East Lead Drops to Six After Baltimore Orioles Fall 3-1 to Tampa Bay Rays

August 28th, 2014 at 7:18 AM
By Josh Michael

Some people may have said that the Tampa Bay Rays did not get nearly enough for ace David Price when they traded him, but Drew Smyly certainly looked like he was quite a steal on Wednesday as shutdown the Baltimore Orioles offense en route to beating the O's 3-1.

Baltimore's offense just could not figure out Smyly as he was simply dominant on Wednesday, and it wasn't flashy, it was purely great pitching. Smyly limited the Orioles offense to just one run on two hits, one walk and he struck out six O's hitters over seven innings of work.

The lone run came courtesy of a Chris Davis home run in the second inning and the other hit was a Steve Pearce single. Smyly was moving his pitches around the zone, hitting his spots, and most importantly, commanding his fastball. He needed just 87 pitches to get through his seven innings of work.

Pearce's single did extend his hit streak to a career high ten games and he is batting .341 (14-41) with nine extra base hits, nine runs scored and five RBI during the streak.

Kevin Gausman (7-6) did not fare nearly as well as Smyly, but defense had a lot to do with it as well. Gausman only lasted four innings, which ties his career low for innings in a start, and he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, and he struck out four, but his pitch count was up to 80 through four innings.

In the first inning, Gausman had a man on third with one out and on a 3-1 count against Matt Joyce, the infield, which had been in, was moved back to normal depth and Joyce hit a ground ball to Jonathan Schoop at second base, and instead of taking the sure out at first, Schoop tried to make the long throw home and Ben Zobrist beat it to score. Later in the inning, Joyce scored with two outs.

The third run of the night was an unearned run as JJ Hardy committed a throwing error on Ryan Hanigan's ground ball to begin the second inning and he later scored on a sacrifice fly.

As we said, the defense did not help Gausman much, but his command was off a bit as well. Over four career starts against the Rays, Gausman now owns a 1-3 record with a 6.52 ERA in 19 1/3 innings pitched.

T.J. McFarland came in and allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings of relief, while Tommy Hunter and Darren O'Day also tossed a scoreless inning, but the offense could not pick up their pitching staff.

With the loss, combined with wins from the Yankees and Blue Jays, the Orioles lead in the AL East is now six games over New York and nine over Toronto. Baltimore will look for the series win tonight as they send Bud Norris (11-8) to the mound to face off against Jeremy Hellickson (1-2) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.


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